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American Airlines passenger traffic drops 3.3 percent in February

American Airlines said its passenger traffic declined 3.3 percent in February as the carrier cut its network capacity by 3.7 percent.

The Fort Worth-based carrier said its passenger load factor grew 0.3 percentage points to 77.3 percent.

American said it was lowering its unit revenue guidance for the first quarter. The company said it expects unit revenues to be up 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent compared to its previous guidance of 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent.

The carrier told investors that the revised guidance is due to a higher completion factor of 98.9 percent compared to 97.7 percent in the same period last year.

“The higher completion factor is positive for customer service and profitability, but the additional [available seat miles] generally reduces [total revenue per available seat mile] results,” the company said in a statement.

Shares of American [ticker: AAL] declined slightly, down about 20 cents to $44.69 in early morning trading.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk